All posts for “Speaking”


Have you ever heard the term "Death by PowerPoint"? It's a reference to presentations that are disorganized and go on forever. It's a plague and we want to help. Our latest video was suggested by members and is designed to teach students an essential 21st century skill: how to plan a presentation so that it's organized and easy to follow.  What it Teaches: All great presentations have one thing in common: they are well organized. This video illustrates how to plan your next presentation so... Continue Reading

Antidotes for Information Overload

Posted by: leelefever on March 20, 2014- 1:30pm

Topic: Art of Explanation

Categories: article, data, Einstein, freud, research, Speaking


Later this spring I will be speaking at an event for institutional researchers called the AIR Forum ("AIR" is the Association for Institutional Research). In speaking with the organizers, I've learned that the audience is very data-oriented and sometimes find it difficult to make their findings understandable to others. It will be my challenge to help them become better explainers.  In preparation for the event, I wrote an article that was recently published in their newsletter that focuses on... Continue Reading
A few weeks ago we spoke at Amplify Festival in Australia and one of the most memorable events of the conference was called “BrightSparks”, produced by the indomitable conference organizer Annalie Killian.  A few hundred people crowded into a bar to watch 18 PhD students pitch their ideas for 2.5 minutes each.  Sachi was one of five judges who helped award $5,000 to the winner.   Leading up to this event, we led workshops and spoke about the need for explanation and the goal to increase... Continue Reading

Why Academic Explanations Are Difficult to Understand

Posted by: leelefever on February 19, 2013- 12:23pm

Topic: Art of Explanation

Categories: academia, curse of knowledge, Speaking


When I talk about explanation skills, I often hear a common response: “Boy do I know someone who needs that!” Over time I’ve found that, often, this person in need is a scientist or research professor who can’t seem to explain their work or current projects in an understandable way.   It’s a fascinating paradox. You could reason that the most informed people would have the best explanations, but it’s not often the case. Many times, the inverse is true.  As I first learned in the book Made to... Continue Reading

Bill Clinton Shows Why Explanation is an Art

Posted by: leelefever on September 9, 2012- 1:21pm

Topic: Art of Explanation

Categories: empathy, Explanation, packaging, politics, Speaking


Late last week I got a text message from my politically-conservative brother in North Carolina that said “Has there ever been a better political speaker than Bill Clinton?” Indeed, wherever you stand on the political spectrum, it’s difficult to deny the effectiveness of Bill Clinton as a speaker.  E. J. Dionne published an opinion in the Washington Post where he said:  Bill Clinton is typically described as the empathetic, feel-your-pain guy. But his greatest political skill may be as a... Continue Reading

Help Us Speak at the SXSW Interactive Festival

Posted by: leelefever on August 15, 2012- 3:56pm

Topic: Speaking

Categories: presentation, Speaking, SXSW, talk


I have a favor to ask. Each year, the technology world convenes in Austin Texas for the South-by-Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW).  To speak at the conference is an honor and the organizers look to the public to help them decide who should speak.  This year Sachi and I have submitted a presentation and in order to increase our chances of being accepted, we're begging asking nicely for votes for our presentation.  Our talk is all about explanation skills and I think you'll agree that if... Continue Reading

Speaking at Ignite Seattle August 3rd

Posted by: leelefever on July 29, 2009- 5:00pm

Topic: event

Categories: family, goldfish, Speaking


If you live near Seattle, you should come out to Ignite Seattle 7 on August 3rd at the King Cat Theater, 7-11pm. I'll be doing a talk that night called "Where Goldfish Come From."  Ignite Seattle (like other Ignite events) is a night for speakers to present for 5 minutes using 20 slides that display for 15 seconds each.  It's similar to the Pecha Kucha format. I'll be one of over 10 speakers that night. You might ask - goldfish?  Why goldfish?  Well, goldfish happen to be a very important part... Continue Reading

Going to SXSW? Come to Our Panel "Shift Happens"

Posted by: leelefever on February 15, 2009- 4:00pm


Categories: conference, event, Speaking, SXSW, visualthinking


Sachi and will be heading down to South-by-Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) March 13th-17th and I hope we'll see you there. We'll have plenty of stickers - just ask!  I'll also be speaking, along with an excellent group of folks from the visual thinking world, at a panel discussion called "Shift Happens - Moving From Word to Pictures." The panel is on Monday (3/16) at 5pm 10am. Other panelists include: Sunni Brown Owner, BrightSpot Info Design Tom Crawford CEO, VizThink Dave Gray... Continue Reading

Help Us Speak at SXSW

Posted by: leelefever on August 18, 2008- 5:00pm


Categories: conference, events, Speaking, SXSW, visualthinking


It seems like a long way off, but South-by-Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) is just around the corner (March 2009).  At the moment, the public is voting on what speaking panels should be accepted for the event.  When the voting finishes (August 29, 2008) the SXSW staff will consider the results of the voting when deciding what panels will be picked. I say all this because I hope you'll vote for our panel. :) Here are the details: Shift Happens: Moving from Words to Pictures Description:... Continue Reading

VizThink in Review

Posted by: leelefever on January 30, 2008- 4:00pm


Categories: conference, event, newfriends, Speaking, visualthinking


Text and bullet points - they are dead, or at least used inappropriately.  That was one of the overwhelming messages from VizThink, a two day conference on Visual Thinking.  We agree. This was the first (of hopefully many) conferences on visual thinking put on by VizThink, the brainchild of Dave Gray of Xplane.  It brought together people from around the world who focus in communicating with pictures. More info on the wiki.For example, on the first morning we sat down with three pediatric ER... Continue Reading